WADA attacked by Russian hackers

The World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) confirmed on Tuesday that it was compromised by a Russian hacker group known as ‘Fancy Bear.’ WADA said the hackers accessed WADA’s Anti-Doping Administration and Management System (ADAMS) database via an International Olympic Committee (IOC)-created account for the Rio 2016 Games using an email phishing scheme.

Athletes affected include tennis players Venus and Serena Williams and teenage gymnast Simone Biles.

“WADA deeply regrets this situation and is very conscious of the threat that it represents to athletes whose confidential information has been divulged through this criminal act,” said Olivier Niggli, Director General, WADA. “We are reaching out to stakeholders, such as the IOC, IFs and NADOs, regarding the specific athletes impacted.”

The group accessed athlete data, including confidential medical data, such as Therapeutic Use Exemptions (TUE). The hackers released some of the data in the public domain, accompanied by the threat that they will release more.

“WADA condemns these ongoing cyber-attacks that are being carried out in an attempt to undermine WADA and the global anti-doping system. WADA has been informed by law enforcement authorities that these attacks are originating out of Russia. Let it be known that these criminal acts are greatly compromising the effort by the global anti-doping community to re-establish trust in Russia further to the outcomes of the Agency’s independent McLaren Investigation Report.”

This attack follows another incident involving Russian whistleblower Yuliya Stepanova, whose password for ADAMS was illegally obtained, allowing a perpetrator to access her account. Stepanova was the key whistleblower for WADA’s Independent Pound Commission that exposed widespread doping in Russian athletics.